Statement by H.E. Halit Çevik, Permanent Representative of Turkey to the UN, at Panel Discussion on Private-Sector Partnerships in Preparedness and Humanitarian Response

Halit Çevik 10.12.2012
Your Excellencies,
Dear Colleagues,
Ladies and Gentleman,

I would like to thank you for your presence in this important event and welcome you all. I also would like to thank Ambassador Mr. Wittig for his hospitality, as well as UNDP and OCHA for the support and cooperation they have extended. My thanks also goes to Turkcell and DHL for their successful partnerships.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am happy to be present here today as one of the co-hosts of this event on private sector partnerships. Our goal today is to draw more attention on building new partnerships in preparedness and disaster response. These are the two areas that require the involvement of not only states but also all segments of the society. We are glad to observe that the United Nations, Member States, NGOs, private companies and societies are becoming more and more aware of this fact and taking steps in that direction.

As one of the emerging donors in the field of humanitarian and development assistance, Turkey has been improving and strengthening its partnership with the international community and intensifying its involvement in humanitarian issues. In addition to Turkey’s increasing contribution to international organizations and assistance in humanitarian disasters, we have been taking initiatives in disaster-related issues. The most recent example is the HOPEFOR Initiative, launched jointly by Turkey, Qatar and the Dominican Republic. The Initiative aims to improve the effectiveness and coordination of military and civil defence assets for natural disaster response. Also, we are in the process of establishing an international center of excellence in İstanbul that will focus on earthquake risk management. The studies to finalize the business plan of the Center are almost completed.

In parallel with Turkey’s increasing role in disaster preparedness and response, Turkish organizations and companies have also become more active. Turkish NGOs have been delivering aid in the most challenging environments of the world, such as Haiti, Somalia, Afghanistan and Myanmar. Likewise, Turkish private companies, such as the GSM company Turkcell, have been mobilizing their resources and expertise in disaster-related activities.

On this occasion, I would like to congratulate Turkcell for having received the UN Elite Award with its project “Money Box for Van”. I am sure there is no better recognition than this award for what Turkcell has achieved.

Turkey is well aware of the critical role the private sector has been playing in its development. As a result of this understanding, Turkey has jointly launched with the UNDP “the Istanbul International Center for Private Sector in Development”. This center combines Turkey’s experience in private sector and UNDP’s expertise in engaging the private sector constructively in supporting efforts to address development challenges. The Center can also play a significant role in developing strategies on how to engage the private sector in building resilience and in disaster risk management, which are important elements of sustainable development.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Turkey has suffered irreversible and incalculable losses as a result of disasters, especially floods and earthquakes. We are willing to share our experience, as well as receive the experience and expertise of others, to render ourselves more resilient to disasters. We firmly believe that partnerships and networks of diverse actors will make our disaster mitigation and response efforts more effective.

Thank you again for your attention.